Day 3 – Lake Moultrie to Jacksonboro

Av – 11.7 mph
Dis – 84.6 miles
Tm – 07:15 hrs.
Asc – 1240 ft.

  • 05:56 Awake for Day 3. Shouldn’t have any prob getting on the road in 65 min. 45 degrees and clear.
  • 06:56 Heading out in time with plenty of layers to shed on the way. Homeward bound! img
  • 08:40 Feeling good, despite numb hands. 20 miles in already. I’m a machine!
  • 09:49 Finally warming up! 15 miles from Waterfront Park, Charleston. img
  • 13:03 Phone almost dead. Pushing thru Charleston to get as far as I can today. Will reconnect when I make camp.
  • 14:39 Finally cleared Charleston. Only one place I know less bike friendly: a mine field. Or maybe Bosnia.
  • 14:39 Southern outskirts of Charleston. img
  • 16:57 Jacksonboro. Cant find a place to put down camp. Sun setting. Outlook grim.
  • 17:30 Day 3 “camp.” I dont care who you are, sleeping in an abandoned house is creepy as shit. img

Hepatitis anyone?I’m in a creepy-ass abandoned house about a half a mile south of Jacksonboro. The only entrance was through the rear, over a rotted out porch floor, caved in ceiling, and empty 40oz beer bottles strewn about.

I parked my bike and trailer out of sight of Hwy 17 (a stone’s throw from where I write this now) and stepped cautiously across the gaping hole in the floor.

“Hello?” I half expected an answer. “Anyone here? Hello!” I took a step. Two. Four, and entered the living room. Two, 70s style arm chairs were in the middle. More empty beer bottles lay scattered. Against the far wall, which lead outside the front door to the porch, were a pair of couches turned toward each other and pressed together. All the furniture was in oddly good shape.

Snug as a bug in a rug. And blinded by my camera flash.A room immediately to my left was littered and odds and ends, but surprisingly no garbage or a brood of possums. The next room, the last on the left, held the treasure. It was clean, uncluttered, with a single end table and lamp on the floor. Leaning against the near wall was a queen sized box spring, also in good condition. Against the far wall, half covering the window that looked over the front yard and Hwy 17 beyond, was the matching mattress. No stains, no hair, no rodents or bugs or burns. I’m no stranger to discovering cast off bedding, and this was a find indeed.

On the floor near the mattress was an oval ash tray with three butts smoked down to the filter. This looked like a room where a few kids might get together and have some fun without the folks knowing.

I found it interesting there were no signs of vandalism. No graffiti or burned things or broken furniture. It was old, run down, even falling apart in places, but due to neglect and nature rather than maliciousness. Assuming I don’t get jacked in my sleep, this has been a very fortunate discovery. Temps are supposed to dip to freezing tonight. I’ve got the gear to deal with it, but this was just too good. Wish me luck.

One last head call before getting on the road.When I left Lake Moultrie this morning at 07:00, it was 45 degrees and the wind was whipping of the lake in icy blasts. I bundled up: tights over my cycling shorts, short sleeve base layer, long sleeve insulating layer, loose fit jersey, and a wind/rain jacket. I knew I’d eventually be shedding layers as the day wore on, but only in a matter of minutes I found myself dropping the outer shell. Without the lake wind, the temps were more than manageable. The majority of my body was warming up nicely, but my hands and feet were creeping quickly into a state of numbness.

Even though the sun continued to rise higher and warm the earth, the road succumbed to the shadows cast by neighboring trees. At a brisk 13 mph average, I pushed mile after mile in these shadows.

Finally warming up just north of Charleston.It wasn’t until about 35 miles into the ride that my extremities regained normal feeling and motion. I attribute that to reaching the outskirts of Charleston and the sun finally rising high enough to clear the trees. I was sweating by then, but it was still too cold to drop the vest and expose my wet back to the 55 degree air. I left it on and tugged the zipper down midway to vent it out.

I reached Waterfront Park as scheduled and broke for chow at Subway. I pondered how far I’d push the remainder of the day and decided on a 17:00 drop dead time – sunset. It took almost two godforsaken hours to clear Charleston city limits and its billy goat roads and sidewalks, and I was happy to be back on open highway once again.

The bridge looked a lot cooler from the top, but my camera battery crapped out.As the day wore I knew I had two things to accomplish: an 80+ mile day and camp established by sunset. Jacksonboro was only a couple miles down the road from my 80 mile mark, so I stopped by a BP gas station, grabbed a small Red Bull and Snickers bar, and asked about places to camp. To the clerk’s credit, she offered the use of the entire BP parking lot because they were “open 24/7 anyways,” but I politely declined for obvious reasons.

Panic started to set in – the sun had set and I didn’t have anywhere to camp. I reluctantly saddled back up and continued pushing south, riding on darkness and hoping desperately to find something soon. And like a shining, neon sign to your favorite strip club, this house appeared through the thick of the trees. In fact, if I stood on Hwy 17 directly in front of it, I could still see the BP. But I won’t, because I’m sneaky like that.

Tomorrow I’m home!

Tour photo album

Abandoned house tour

29 Jan 2011: Return to the abandoned house!

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